Ethics & Global Politics is a peer reviewed international Open Access journal whose aim is to foster theoretical contributions to the study of ethics and global politics. It does not favour any philosophical perspective or political problem but emphasizes the importance of closing the gap between normative ethics and political theory, on the one hand, and contemporary political problems in the global domain, on the other. The journal provides a forum for original research articles, reviews and research notes that integrate normative issues within philosophy and political theory with political problems related to processes and phenomena that transgress traditional distinctions between regional, national, international and global levels of politics. In particular it encourages contributions that provide novel ways of approaching and conceptualizing the political challenges the world faces today, for instance in relation to global institutional arrangements, environmental protection, policy development, poverty, technology and knowledge, future generations, and migration.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Ethics & Global Politics as of vol. 1(2008) to current.

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  • Should we open borders? Yes, but not in the name of global justice

    Borja Niño Arnaiz (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    Some proponents of global justice question that opening borders is an effective strategy to alleviate global poverty and reduce inequalities between countries. This article goes a step further and asks whether an open borders policy is compatible with the objectives of global distributive justice. The latter, it will be argued, entails the ordering of needs, the assignment of priorities and the preference or subordination of some interests over others. In other words, global justice requires the establishment of conditions and restrictions on mobility. On the contrary, open borders claim an unrestricted and unconditional (not unqualified) freedom of movement, limited only by public health considerations, serious threats to national security or democratic institutions, but not by an aspiration for maximizing global redistributive utility. The main point is that not only would freedom of movement be instrumentalized, losing its presumptive moral force, but ultimately open borders as a remedy of global justice are an oxymoron. The article concludes with an alternative defence of freedom of international movement.
  • Reciprocity and the duty to stay

    Daniel Dzah (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    Some restrictionist arguments justifying the duty to stay as a means of addressing medical brain drain have relied on reciprocity as the moral basis for their policy proposals. In this essay, I argue that such reciprocity-based justifications for the duty to stay ignore crucial conditions of fittingness as relates to the funding of medical training.
  • ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live’. Global justice and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

    Göran Collste (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-05-01)
    In 2020, the world faced a new pandemic. The corona infection hit an unprepared world, and there were no medicines and no vaccines against it. Research to develop vaccines started immediately and in a remarkably short time several vaccines became available. However, despite initiatives for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines have so far become accessible only to a minor part of the world population. In this article, I discuss the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from an ethical point of view. I reflect on what ethical principles should guide the global distribution of vaccines and what global justice and international solidarity imply for vaccine distribution and I analyse the reasons for states to prioritize their own citizens. My focus is on ethical reasons for and against ‘vaccine nationalism’ and ‘vaccine cosmopolitanism.’ My point of departure is the appeal for international solidarity from several world leaders, arguing that ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live’. I discuss the COVAX initiative to enable a global vaccination and the proposal from India and South Africa to the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive patent rights for vaccines. In the final section, I argue for global vaccine sufficientarianism, which is a modified version of vaccine cosmopolitanism.
  • When the state doesn’t commit: a review essay of Julian Culp’s Democratic Education in a Globalized World

    David V. Axelsen (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-03-01)
    The world has evolved from being international to being global. Increasingly, global issues like climate change, migration, pandemics, trade, big data, and terrorism spill over borders drawn centuries ago as if they were no longer there. In this globalized world, however, people are still born and educated as citizens of particular nation states. Indeed, education is still used as one of the state's main tools for shaping citizen virtues and commitments. Political philosophers have acknowledged both the increasingly global nature of contemporary political problems and the power of education to shape citizens but have failed to recognize how the two are interconnected. In his book, Democratic Education in a Globalized World: A Normative Theory, Julian Culp seeks to rectify this double-sided failure by building a theory of and framework for educating people for democratic citizenship in a world of border-crossing issues. I outline how he seeks to overcome this problem, set out an analytical framework with which to engage with his account, and note some significant worries that arise from this analysis. In particular, I focus on a specific blindness from which Culp's account suffers, which makes it unable to detect wrongs that arise when the state fails to commit to fundamental normative principles.
  • Why citizenship tests are necessarily illiberal: a reply to Blake

    Daniel Sharp (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-01-01)
    In ‘Are Citizenship Tests Necessarily Illiberal?’, Michael Blake argues that difficult citizenship tests are not necessarily illiberal, so long as they test for the right things. In this paper, I argue that Blake’s attempt to square citizenship tests with liberalism fails. Blake underestimates the burdens citizenship tests impose on immigrants, ignoring in particular the egalitarian claims immigrants have on equal social membership. Moreover, Blake’s positive justification of citizenship tests – that they help justify immigrants’ coercive voting power – both neglects the fact that such tests are coercively imposed on immigrants and that the citizenship test Blake envisions does little to help ensure immigrants’ votes are legitimate. Citizenship tests thus aren’t, even in principle, a way of protecting citizens from unjustified coercive power. They are, even under favourable circumstances, an illiberal way of obstructing immigrants’ quest for social equality.
  • In defense of citizenship testing: a reply to Daniel Sharp

    Michael Blake (Taylor & Francis Group, 2022-01-01)
    I have argued that citizenship tests are not, in principle, unjust, were they to accurately test the acquisition of those particular aspects of local history and vocabulary necessary for participation in the local political community. Daniel Sharp disagrees, and argues that such tests are always unjust; they impose unjustifiable burdens against all and only migrants seeking admission to political citizenship. In this paper, I defend the possibility of a just test. I argue, first, that the burden on prospective citizens is not an undue or unjust one, were we to have some reason available to us by which that burden might be justified; and, second, that some such reason is available, given the relevance of local knowledge to political discourse – a relevance acknowledged in both current law and in theories of public reason.
  • Deportation, harms, and human rights

    Lukas Schmid (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    In Justice for People on the Move, Gillian Brock constructs an elaborate normative framework, based on human rights practice, to assess how states must treat international migrants in order to legitimate exclusionary claims to self-determination. In this discussion piece, I argue that this framework cannot always satisfactorily explain when and why it is impermissible for legitimate states to remove irregular migrants from their territory (i.e. deport them). I show that Brock’s intuitions about at least one of her own paradigm cases – the removal of long-settled immigrants whose irregular immigration was tacitly approved at the time – are not accommodated by her own framework. However, Brock also acknowledges that deportation is often harmful to persons and that this is morally problematic. Although this concern with harm is not systematically elaborated in Brock’s discussion, I think it should be. I suggest that a purely harm-based framework is fully able to negotiate Brock’s moral worries about deportation and outline the cornerstones of such a framework, stressing that harm in deportation may count as permissible only if it satisfies the joint desiderata of necessity and proportionality. I conclude by giving a sense of how one of Brock’s paradigm cases – the tacit-approval case – could be assessed within this framework, arguing that such an analysis would likely bolster Brock’s intuitions about this case whilst satisfactorily explaining if and why exactly the deportation practice in question cannot permissibly be pursued by legitimate states.
  • Travel bans and COVID-19

    Desiree Lim (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
  • Does Brock’s theory of migration justice adequately account for climate refugees?

    Shelley Wilcox (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    In Justice for People on the Move, Gillian Brock develops a promising, original account of migration justice. In her view, states have a robust (though conditional) right to self-determination, which includes a reasonably strong right to regulate migration. However, in order for these rights to be justified, three legitimacy requirements must be met. Most obviously, states must respect the human rights of their own citizens and the international state system itself must be legitimate. This latter condition also requires states to do their part in sustaining a justified state system, which includes helping to alleviate ‘legitimacy gaps,’ including significant human rights violations in other states. Brock uses this framework to address several pressing migration-related policy issues, including Muslim bans, the deportation of unauthorized migrants, temporary labour migration, and refugee protection. However, one topic is notably absent from her analysis: climate-related displacement. Some theorists insist that climate change migrants should not be considered refugees because they do not fit the standard definition of a refugee. In particular, climate migrants were displaced by droughts, floods, storms, or sea level rise rather than by war or persecution, and many are able to remain in their homes at present but will be forced to relocate at some point in the future. This paper explores the implications of Brock’s theory of migration justice for climate migration. I suggest that although her approach to refugee protection may initially appear to exclude climate migrants, her understanding of the right to self-determination yields strong obligations to assist them. I take this to be a strength of her framework, which makes an important, albeit indirect, contribution to current debates on climate change migration.
  • Refugees, legitimacy and development

    David Owen (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    In this paper I focus on Gillian Brock’s treatment of the case of refugees. After noting a potential distinction between our otherwise closely related theoretical approaches in which we view the refugee regime as a legitimacy repair (Owen) or legitimacy correction (Brock) mechanism, I draw a contrast between our ways of addressing this regime and argue that the difference between my historical approach and Brock’s presentist approach turns out to have implications for how we conceive what is due to refugees. Focusing on her advocacy of a developmental turn in refugee protection, I develop the concern that her articulation of this approach remains too closely tied to the humanitarian perspective of Betts and Collier in a way that underestimates the significance of political rights to refugee autonomy.
  • Human rights and liberal values: can religion-targeted immigration bans be justified?

    Tyler Paytas (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    In Justice for People on the Move (2020), Gillian Brock argues that immigration bans targeting religions run afoul of international human rights agreements and practices concerning equal protection under the law, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion. Religion-targeted bans are also said to violate ethical requirements for legitimacy by not treating immigration applicants fairly and signalling the acceptability of hatred and intolerance. Brock centres her discussion around the example of the Trump administration’s 2017 Muslim ban, for which she notes additional problems such as the ban’s being motivated by dubious empirical assumptions about the risk of terrorism. I raise two challenges for Brock’s argument. I begin by asking whether banning the immigration of individuals from certain Muslim majority countries could be justified on the grounds that a large portion of the population in those countries appear to reject core liberal values such as the equal rights of women and homosexuals. This leads to my primary challenge, which concerns the practice of treating religion as a morally protected category such that discrimination based on religion is inherently impermissible. I argue that religions should be viewed as more akin to political ideologies than to morally arbitrary categories like race and sex, and that if a given religion is genuinely harmful to liberal values, an immigration ban could in principle be compatible with respect for human rights.
  • Introduction essay: migration justice in a cruel Covid-19 world

    Gillian Brock (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    This is an introductory essay for a special symposium on Gillian Brock’s recent book, Justice for People on the Move: Migration in Challenging Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  • Travel bans, climate change, refugees and human rights: a response to my critics

    Gillian Brock (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-04-01)
    In responding to stimulating commentaries by David Owen, Shelley Wilcox, Tyler Paytas, Desiree Lim, and Lukas Schmid I develop my model of migration justice, showing how it has the resources needed not only to deal with these challenges but also to provide a fruitful approach to a full range of contemporary migration problems.
  • The resource curse and duties to immigrants

    Tamara Crnko; Nebojša Zelič (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-10-01)
    This paper brings together the discussions on international resource trade and immigration. Following Wenar’s analysis of the resource curse, the aim is to challenge the conventional view on immigration that asserts the right of states to have discretionary control over these policies. The paper shows that more liberal immigration is required as an additional remedial policy to persons harmed in unjust trade. The right to self-determination and territorial rights, which are used as the basis for the exclusion of immigrants, are in the context of this analysis constrained by both attentiveness to harm and the charge of inconsistency. Both rights, which are protected domestically, are violated by the unjust ‘might makes right’ trade rule in the international context, causing harm to people in resource exporting countries. This inconsistency presents a challenge to the moral plausibility of the conventional view in the context of the resource trade.
  • The capital flight quadrilemma: democratic trade-Offs and international investment

    Michael Bennett (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-10-01)
    This article argues that capital flight of real investment presents governments with a quadrilemma. First, governments can tailor their policies to attract investors – but this is incompatible with a whole range of alternative policy choices. Second, they can simply accept capital flight – but this is incompatible with a robust capital stock and tax base. Third, they can harmonize its taxes and regulations with other states – but this is incompatible with international independence. Fourth, they can impose capital controls – but this is incompatible with international capital mobility. These incompatibilities make up four different goals, the value of which are described. Strategies may be mixed, but the pursuit of any three goals must always come at the expense of the fourth.
  • Are human rights enough? On human rights and inequality

    Charles Jones (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-10-01)
    In this paper I respond to the central claims presented in Samuel Moyn’s influential book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World. Moyn argues that human rights have the following features: they are powerless to combat growing material inequality; they share key characteristics with neoliberalism; they make only minimalist or sufficientarian demands and therefore are not enough to achieve the equality demanded by justice. He suggests, in particular, that Henry Shue’s Basic Rights exemplifies these features. My response argues that Moyn does not accurately present the core conceptual and normative characteristics of human rights, nor does he succeed in implicating Shue’s conception in his critique. I suggest that Moyn’s own ideas about global justice are incompletely developed, including his views about the scope, content, and distributive principles that should guide an account of global justice. Finally, I argue that, even though human rights are only part of an account of global justice, nonetheless they do provide reasons to limit socioeconomic inequality. This point is exemplified by the claim that a human right to democracy requires limits on material inequality in order to prevent power hierarchy. In short, I agree with Moyn that human rights are not enough by themselves to achieve global justice, but I reject his multi-pronged critique of human rights, specifically his claim that they imply no constraints on socioeconomic inequality.
  • Mitigating the costs of departure. Brain drain, disadvantage and fair burden-sharing

    Alexandru Volacu; Vlad Terteleac (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-07-01)
    In this article we aim to assess how the negative effects of brain drain can be mitigated in a fair way. We particularly focus on the policies of extraterritorial taxation and temporary compulsory service for highly skilled migrants in developing countries, which are most thoroughly defended by Gillian Brock. We argue that while Brock is right in pressing for policies seeking to combat the damaging effects of brain drain, she fails to properly characterize the complex strands of disadvantage that run through this phenomenon, placing an unfair redistributive burden on highly skilled migrants. By contrast, we maintain that any fair distribution of such burdens can only flow from a comprehensive account of existing comparative disadvantages, without regard for migratory status. The resulting policy implications are that a considerable part of the tax burden required for mitigating brain drain should be borne by citizens of developed countries, and that compulsory service in developing countries should be rejected.
  • Upholding public institutions in the midst of conflicts: the threat of political corruption

    Emanuela Ceva; Maria Paola Ferretti (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-08-01)
    Scholars and international organizations engaged in institutional reconstruction converge in recognizing political corruption as a cause or a consequence of conflicts. Anticorruption is thus generally considered a centrepiece of institutional reconstruction programmes. A common approach to anticorruption within this context aims primarily to counter the negative political, social, and economic effects of political corruption, or implement legal anticorruption standards and punitive measures. We offer a normative critical discussion of this approach, particularly when it is initiated and sustained by external entities. We recast the focus from an outward to an inward perspective on institutional action and failure centred on the institutional interactions between officeholders. In so doing, we offer the normative tools to reconceptualize anticorruption in terms of an institutional ethics of ‘office accountability’ that draws on an institution’s internal resources of self-correction as per the officeholders’ interrelated work.
  • Complicity in democratic engagement with autocratic systems

    Eva Pils (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-08-01)
    Autocratic control of civil society, including academia, can be extended to democratic societies and institutions in ways that pose threats to liberal-democratic values, such as academic freedom, for example through mechanisms and practices that lead to academic self-censorship. Engaging critically with the literature on ‘sharp power’ and ‘authoritarian influencing’ addressing this phenomenon, this paper argues that democratic actors who, without sharing the repressive goals of autocracies, contribute to their success in settings of international collaboration and exchange can become structurally complicit with such wrongs. Recognizing the risk of complicity is a necessary first step towards addressing the political responsibilities resulting from it.
  • A defense of the moral and legal right to secede

    Moises Vaca; Marc Artiga (Taylor & Francis Group, 2021-01-01)
    We defend the moral and legal right to secede in accordance with plebiscitary theory. Our paper has three main goals. First, by offering a schematic characterization of plebiscitary theory, the main arguments in its favour (and the main objections to them), we contribute to clarify the structure of this complex debate. Second, we stress the point that, if the moral right to secede is established, the resistance for its inclusion into positive law is unjustified. Finally, by addressing old and new objections to plebiscitary theory, we hope to make a compelling case for a wider recognition of secessionist rights.

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